Environmental Services is a complex network of departments and teams, managed by multiple schedules and processes, most of which have seen little improvement or investment in recent years. The increases in population and need for environmental services, such as waste disposal, has resulted in heavier workloads and pressure on existing field based staff.
The Current Issues Within Environmental Services
A major area of concern is access to information at the point of service and indeed throughout the working day. Due to cumbersome paper based processes, field staff have to deal with large files, compliance forms and papers, which presents an issue in potential lost information and human error.
These issues are not only felt by field teams but also the general public who use these services. Due to a lack of two-way communication with the back office teams or systems, information is being lost along the way. The result? Public queries are not being resolved in a timely manner or in some cases, at all, as reported recently in a local government report on environmental services. Leaving environmental services often dealing with a backlog of jobs and the field staff facing growing pressure to do more.
The problem with paper based systems is that they are error-prone. Without two-way communication and information being available and updated in real time, mobile staff don’t have the information they need to complete jobs effectively. Some of this information is vital in the day to day activities of an environmental services operative, such as, access to sites, updated pass codes, dangerous areas etc.
All this relevant information is currently not readily available, costing field staff valuable time as they try to overcome these issues and continue on with their working day.
How Information is Received
Another area that requires investment is how information is recorded, for example, environmental inspectors have many tasks to complete in an average inspection, manually completing this involves remembering each section and area to go over. However, this opens them to human error and forgetting one of these valuable pieces of information could be potentially disastrous for compliance.
By enabling field staff with mobile workforce management technology, tasks can be completed in an efficient order, evidence can be easily gathered, such as images and signatures. It is all easily accessible at the point of service, where it is needed most.
It is this missing investment in technology that can support field staff and their workloads, mobile workforce management is the solution to reducing paperwork and the time that it takes to complete.
By reducing these problems, staff can develop a better work life balance, eliminating the need to take work home or work outside of normal hours. By providing them with the tools to make their daily work more manageable and efficient – productivity and job satisfaction will benefit.
Now is the ideal opportunity for those within environmental services to begin their journey of adopting a mobile workforce management solution, with this solution an organisation can be ready to implement the future technologies that are already making an impact.
With the help of IoT, smart bins with intelligent devices can be used to gather data on when the bins are full, how often they are being emptied etc. This information will be saved on the field worker’s device and securely stored on the back office system. Allowing the organisation to recognise trends and implement further efficiencies and driving costs down.
Without the initial investment into mobile technologies that will enable environmental services, field teams will continue to rely on inefficient systems, but by investing in the right mobile technology, field teams can work in new ways, increasing their productivity and overall efficiency.